A survey of 200 men and women explored the state of infidelity in marriages, including the causes and effects.
Earlier this year, we interviewed one of the private investigators in the Trustify network who estimated that 90% of his surveillance cases centered around infidelity. We thought about how the act of being unfaithful to a partner has evolved, especially with the advanced forms of connecting through social media and other electronic messaging formats.
This led us to creating our own Infidelity survey. With just under 200 responses, we got a clearer picture of what infidelity looks like in 2018. Some answers may surprise you:
- Of those who admitted to infidelity:
- 55% of male respondents cheated on their spouse with five or more people
- 50% of our female respondents admitted to cheating with one person
- 32% of the men met the person they cheated with online (either through social media or a dating service)
- 22% of the women met the person they cheated with in some sort of social setting (bar, party) or had a previous romantic connection to that person
- 23% of the men said the leading cause of the affair was due to a lack of sexual satisfaction
- 28% of the women said the cause of the affair was due to a lack of emotional satisfaction
- Most marriages continued after the affair, although 40% of women admit that they are not on good terms with their spouses, while 60% of men say that they are on good terms.
Where did they meet? Most of our participants who admitted to infidelity already knew the person they cheated with, either through work, their social circle (neighborhood, church, kids go to school with each other) or through a former relationship.
Nearly 200 people responded to our survey, with the majority of our responses coming from those in the 25-54 age range (68% men, 77% women). Of our male participants, 38% were still married and 20% were divorced, while 20% our female participants were still married and 17% were now divorced. (The national trend is falling divorce rates and marriages later in life — if at all.)
When asked “Did you ever commit infidelity while you were married?” 36% of our male participants and 21% of our female participants answered yes. When asked “Did your spouse ever commit infidelity,” 58% of men and 65% of women answered yes.
In the end, 40% of our male participants said their marriages ended following the infidelity, while only 19% of women said their marriages ended in divorce, regardless of the unfaithful party.
In addition to the lack of sexual satisfaction in their marriages, a desire for more attention (14%) and a desire for a new experience (14%) were among the top reasons men committed infidelity. For women, 22% said the reason they were unfaithful was a desire to seek revenge. Surprisingly, of those who answered, no one selected “no longer romantically interested in my spouse” or “romantically interested in someone new.”
As part of our survey, we asked why people committed infidelity.
How (did anyone find out)?
Generally speaking, 68% of men and 39% of the women who committed infidelity said their spouses didn't find out.
For the participants who were cheated on, half of both the men and women found out through electronic evidence: text messages, emails, photos on the cloud.
How did the infidelity come to light? Above, those who admitted to infidelity listed how their spouses found out. Below, those who were cheated on listed how they found out about their spouse's infidelity.
The definition of infidelity is changing and the means are expanding. So, in the spirit of honesty and curiosity, we posed a couple of scenarios to our participants.
First we asked if there were no consequences and no one would find out, would they commit infidelity. 56% of the men and 70% of the women said no.
Did our participants consider flirting infidelity? 63% of men said no, but it was nearly a 50/50 split with women, with 43% saying yes and 47% saying no, flirting was not infidelity.
There was no gray area when it came to one-night stands, as 92% of men and 95% of women surveyed answered that yes, a one-night stand was definitely infidelity. Not nearly as strong, but still surprisingly, 68% of men and 87% of women considered online/cyber relationships infidelity.
Emotional affairs — where there is a strong, emotional but not physical relationship between two people other than a spouse — was a gray area for men, with 51% saying yes this qualified as infidelity. For women, 62% said it was, while 25% said no. And 10% of our participants weren't sure.
Video by Stacy Blackburn